Second Sunday of Advent – 10th December 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters

One of the things we seek to do as Church is to draw people’s attention to the things of God – often against their will.  Isaiah says in the first reading that a voice cries: “Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord.”  And I often think that the word wilderness, in regard to people’s lives, is somewhat apt.  They are a wilderness.  They have some beautiful things in there but also some wild weeds and worse.  Elbow (the rock n roll band) wrote a song which began “A friend of mine grows his very own brambles” of a friend who was making a mess of his life.  That’s a bit strong I suppose to use generally but it is sort of true.  People do have lots of joy and happiness in their lives but also lots of stress and strains.  This can sometimes be seen towards the end of the office Christmas party when someone becomes tearful and sad – a situation exacerbated by drink which is often used to cover over our problems or at least numb them.

The “message” of Christmas which we are preparing for is that God has come to console us in our difficulties and also to lead us (by example) along different pathways and options to the fullness of life.  To enjoy the fullness of life we will most probably have to own up to what is wrong in us and face it.  That’s why this season has a strong element of the penitential in it – if not in quite the same way as Lent.  The Psalm tells us that the Lord’s voice “speaks of peace” and “his help is near.” Indeed his help is near – as is he – in him mercy and faithfulness have met and justice and peace embraced.  He will not abandon us, nor forget us in our trials and he will also encourage us in our doubts and strengthen us for goodness.

You see we are called, as a people, to be heralds of the Good News.  The Good News is about, and is Jesus.  He is, as St Paul says the “yes” of God.  Yes to you, and yes to me.  It can only be a yes if he is prepared to overlook our faults.  He does that and more.  Because in our lives he is an abiding presence, strengthening, consoling, healing and forgiving.

Speaking of brambles.  Don’t forget that it was he who wore them as a faux crown.  We don’t need to grow our own.  He bears those wounds for us.

With my love and prayers.  Fr David 

New to the Parish or just keen to meet everyone You will be made welcome at the evening reception following the 6pm Mass in Cranleigh on January 20th.   If you have recently become involved in Cranleigh or Bramley, for whatever reason, or know of someone who would like to be included, please sign up on the Parish Events page of the website. 

The Parish are going to be selling Tombola Tickets after the next few weeks Masses in order to raise funds for the Parish Hall which is still an ongoing concern.  The prizes include nice bath sets, books, booze, candles, chocolates, and odds are good to win something.  Please support this venture.

Christmas Lunch  Please join us for friendship and fellowship the annual Parish Christmas Lunch is on Tuesday 19th December in the Bramley Parish Room after the 11h30 Mass. It’s a traditional 3 course Christmas dinner with trimmings and wine – great value at £6! Numbers are limited to 24, so please contact Bev (892712 or mark.bev@btopenword.com) or Dinah (271241) to book a space.

CTC Community Christmas Day Lunch will be hosted by St Nicolas Church.  To book your place please contact Sheila Smith 274376 by Friday 15th December.  Please see the poster in the porch. 

TIME CHANGE TO 3PM – The Parish Reconciliation Service will take place on Sunday 17th December in Cranleigh from 3pm.  Our First Holy Communion children (30+ of them!) will be receiving their First Reconciliation.  All members of the parish are encouraged to attend.  You might like to come to the service even if you intend to make your confession the following weekend and use the penitential service as a helpful and joyful examination of conscience to help prepare yourself. 

Second Collections
The collections from both of our churches achieved the grand total of £554.73 for World Mission Sunday October 22nd. And £1032.25 for No5 Footsteps Homeless Charity Thank you to all those who gave so generously to these worthy causes.

“LO HE COMES” – We are invited to join our friends at St Nicolas on Wednesday evenings in the Parish Church.  13th Dec – “The Light is Coming”, 20th Dec – “The Child is Coming”.  Please see the poster in the porch.

Great Pokot News

Earlier this week we transferred the magnificent sum of £13,450 to Pokot. All of this wonderful sum came from Pound a Week Group donations since July and related Gift Aid tax refunds. Some £6,611 was to pay the 2017/18 university fees of fifteen former students at the Mission school; another £3,252 was for next year’s school fees for some of the fourteen boys and girls currently being sponsored by Group members; £1,000 was for Fr Conway to spend where he sees the greatest need; and a balance of £587 was for him to buy a gift (perhaps a milking camel or a cow) for the impoverished family of the boy Robert, a student at the school, who tragically died recently of appendicitis. The remaining £2,000 was for Fr Sean McGovern to use at the Rotu Mission as he thinks best.  He has now told me “The kind donation of £2,000 I will use for the Nursery pre-primary school which is still very much in the development stage. It will be a big help in paying the teacher and getting more books. A thousand thanks to the Pound a Week Group.” Fr Conway has also reported that he has used his £1,000 to help pay the cost (£1,500) of an operation for 60-year-old Tikol to remove a virulent cancer in his inner ear.

I will report further when Fr Conway decides on how best to help Robert’s family.  Eugene McGivern at emcgivern@btinternet.com or on 01483-893379.

Win Bracking is still collecting STAMPS.  There is an envelope in the porch.  Many thanks.

Do you support Catholic schools and the right of Catholics to send their children to them? Then we need you to make your voice heard.

The Government is making a critical decision on whether to overturn the admissions cap which prevents Catholic schools from allowing all Catholic pupils to attend. They have acknowledged that this policy discriminates against Catholics and promised to abandon it, now we need you to tell them not to u-turn on their promise to Catholics.

Visit http://catholicnews.org.uk/education-cap or search for ‘Catholic Education’ in your search engine to write to the Government and urge them to drop their policy which bans new Catholic schools.

Over 50 Coffee Mornings – the next few dates for the successful over 50’s coffee morning are Tuesdays 12th December and then in the New Year 9th and 23rd January and 6th and 20th February from 10pm in the Cranleigh Parish Meeting Room.  All are welcome.

POWER TO BE

World-wide, one in six people do not have access to electricity. This has a serious impact on their lives and especially on children’s education – they need power to be who they can be. The most efficient and effective way to provide electricity is through small-scale, local, renewable energy generation and distribution networks.  The World Bank funds energy projects for the poorest communities, including money from the UK, but less than 3% of this supports sustainable energy. CAFOD is campaigning to change this. If you have not already done so, please sign the on-line petition to Melanie Robinson, the UK’s representative at the World Bank. Go to:

https://e-activist.com/page/7676/petition/1

The campaign closes at the end of December, so please take this simple but important action in the next few days. Many thanks.

Two Advent Events at Chilworth Abbey
You are warmly invited to prepare for Christmas in the best possible way by going to confession, and receiving absolution for your sins. The Service is at 7.15 pm on Friday 15th of December. Priests, whom do not know and who does not know you, will be available to hear individual confessions. The Blessed sacrament will be Exposed for Adoration and concludes with Night Prayer with the Monastic Community at 8.30 pm.
Please come also to our Monastic Advent Carol Service, at 3pm on Sunday the 17th of December to begin celebrating Christmas with heart-warming Carols, beautiful sung plainchant by the Monks, inspiring readings, followed by a convivial sharing of mulled wine and mince pies in the Assisi room. Bring a friend if you can, to share our joy at the birth of the Saviour of us all, Jesus Christ, the Lord.

If you would like to send Christmas greetings to Christians in the Holy Land, Liverpool Diocese has prepared a web page with all the information you need http://www.liverpoolcatholic.org.uk/cardcampaign

Please join us for an EXTRA day of prayer and fasting, on Monday the 11th December, the vigil of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, please pray and fast for the end of abortion and euthanasia in this Country. Your prayer and fasting is urgently needed, and it really does save lives. Please also pray especially that politicians and councillors won’t hinder the pro-life presence outside abortion clinics and that buffer zones won’t be introduced. For information on the days of Prayer and Fasting see: www.GoodCounselNetwork.com

PACT Call for Support:  As you may know, we currently have over 500 volunteers across England and Wales, but we need more in certain areas to support ex-prisoners, prisoners’ children and families, and also prisoners themselves.  We have a number of volunteering opportunities now for Catholics in these areas.

We are needing volunteers for HMP Downview, HMP Coldingley and HMP Send.  The roles will range from welcoming families into the Visitors center, supporting the children in the play area as well as working in the Tea bar area.  If you are interested in learning more please contact emma.oconnor@prisonadvice.org.uk or 07712 306940.  Or apply online at www.prisonadvice.org.uk.  There is training commencing in the New Year.

First Sunday of Advent – 03.12.17

Christmas collection after mass on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd December for the Number Five Homeless shelter

Dear Brothers and Sisters

With this newsletter, you will find a questionnaire, which is asking you to think about your response to some important questions facing the Church at the moment.  I will be saying more about this during the homily.

The fact that we are having a questionnaire reveals that we are living in changing times.  We need to rethink what we mean by “Church” and what I mean by belonging to the Church.  The way we worship is also adapting and changing as well.  Not that the Mass has changed materially but we have new opportunities to make worship open and engaging for all people.

A parishioner has generously donated some money for a new project.  And I have one in mind which I think could be very useful and help us in the future.  I have long thought about having retractable screens in the church that could show short films, words of songs and readings, meaningful pictures that help us to think more deeply about certain aspects of our faith and worship and show news and important information.  This sum of money will help us do all that at Cranleigh. And perhaps put up some notices screens at Bramley as the church there isn’t well suited to screens.

This is therefore a way of informing you of my plans and also asking you what you think about this possibility?  If you haven’t experienced this sort of thing before the Catholic churches in Guildford all have these screens as do the Methodist, Baptist and, I think, the Anglican churches in Cranleigh.

To make them effective we will need to recruit some operators who can put together information onto slides, make sure we have the words of the right hymns and songs and be able to process them through the mass as we go so that everyone has a “seamless experience”

Let me know what you think.  We have the funding in place and I think this would be most useful.

With my love and prayers.  Fr David

New to the Parish or just keen to meet everyone You will be made welcome at the evening reception following the 6pm Mass in Cranleigh on January 20th.   If you have recently become involved in Cranleigh or Bramley, for whatever reason, or know of someone who would like to be included, please sign up on the Parish Events page of the website.

Date Change for Care Group meeting is re-scheduled for 1st December at 11am at Cranleigh Parish Meeting Room.

The Monday Advent Group will start as usual at 10am on Monday November 27th at 6 Linersh Drive, Bramley.

All are welcome.  I would be grateful if you can let me know if you are coming on   01483 894048. Maureen Loveder.

The Parish are going to be selling Tombola Tickets after the next few weeks Masses in order to raise funds for the Parish Hall which is still an ongoing concern.  The prizes include nice bath sets, books, booze, candles, chocolates, and odds are good to win something.  Please support this venture.

Also for sale are St Cuthbert Mayne Christmas Puddings.

TIME CHANGE TO 3PM – The Parish Reconciliation Service will take place on Sunday 17th December in Cranleigh from 3pm.  Our First Holy Communion children (30+ of them!) will be receiving their First Reconciliation.  All members of the parish are encouraged to attend.  You might like to come to the service even if you intend to make your confession the following weekend and use the penitential service as a helpful and joyful examination of conscience to help prepare yourself.

From Darkness to Light

A Service of Readings and Music for Advent

At St Thomas More Church, Bramley

Sunday 3rd December 2017 – 6.30pm

Followed by mulled wine and mince pies in the Parish Room.  All are welcome

“LO HE COMES” – An opportunity to take an hour out in each week of Advent to prepare for Christmas with Words and Music from different traditions presented by the Rector.  We are invited to join our friends at St Nicolas on Wednesday evenings in the Parish Church.  6th Dec – “The King is Coming”, 13th Dec – “The Light is Coming”, 20th Dec – “The Child is Coming”.  Please see the poster in the porch.

Do you support Catholic schools and the right of Catholics to send their children to them? Then we need you to make your voice heard.

The Government is making a critical decision on whether to overturn the admissions cap which prevents Catholic schools from allowing all Catholic pupils to attend. They have acknowledged that this policy discriminates against Catholics and promised to abandon it, now we need you to tell them not to u-turn on their promise to Catholics.

Visit http://catholicnews.org.uk/education-cap or search for ‘Catholic Education’ in your search engine to write to the Government and urge them to drop their policy which bans new Catholic schools.

Wreath Making Event –  The Friends of St Cuthbert Mayne are hosting this fabulous event again this year on Thursday 7th December from 8pm in the school hall.   £25 a ticket includes a glass of mulled wine and all the materials you need to make a beautiful wreath to enjoy over the festive period.   The event was very popular last year.  There are also Christmas Puddings to be bought at £3 each.  Please let the Parish Office know if you would like to reserve a ticket or buy a pudding.

Over 50 Coffee Mornings – the next few dates for the successful over 50’s coffee morning are Tuesdays 12th December and then in the New Year 9th and 23rd January and 6th and 20th February from 10pm in the Cranleigh Parish Meeting Room.  All are welcome.